For Tomorrow

Author: Midnite Marauder
Rating: PG-15/VERY mild R
Archiving: All FQF will be archived solely at this site until September 30th, 2005. After that, it's yours to do with as you will.
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. I do not own Harry Potter, its characters, or anything associated with it. I'm not making any money from this story, and I don't intend to.
Challenge & Summary: Challenge SS #13: Fireflies
Author Notes: My undying gratitute to my wonderful betas, Kyrie, Janette and Xellas. And a special shout out to Ladyblack888 for her encouragement and for constantly yelling at me to write. :) Oh, Kyrie - run on sentences are the "new Black!" *g*

The lake was a shimmering, pale, opalescent pink occasionally broken by darker grey-coloured ripples as both aquatic and amphibious inhabitants rose up to feast on unwary low-flying insects. Remus was sat on a low, flat boulder near the border of lake and forest, a book of poetry forgotten in his lap while he watched the sun slowly sink behind the mountains. The sunset was glorious, filling the sky with hues of pink, purple, orange and gold, and the forest was alive with the sounds and scents of summer.

In two more days they would leave Hogwarts and ride on the old-fashioned red steam engine to London for the last time. It felt as if it were only yesterday that he had crossed this very lake for the first time, wide-eyed and innocent, and perhaps more than a little nervous and overwhelmed. So much had happened since then: so many memories, both good and bad. It had been an incredible journey for him – one that he would never have imagined in his wildest dreams. And now it was all ending like the final chapter of a long-cherished series of books, and he wanted nothing more than to savour these last pages. The yet unwritten epilogue that awaited him would not be as kind.

The hands on his shoulders were so familiar that he did not start. He'd been expecting it, and he smiled, his right hand rising of its own accord to lightly stroke the splayed fingers with his thumb, his own fingers curled, resting gently against his collarbone. He felt the press of a kiss to the top of his head and tilted his head back, the smooth skin of his forehead rasping gently against the stubble-roughness of Sirius' jaw.

He loved feeling Sirius against his skin and didn't much care how it was accomplished. For him, that had been the most astonishing aspect of their relationship – how deeply he craved his touch. From the lightest brush of fingertips when Sirius passed him a serving platter in the Great Hall to the hot, heady friction of slick, thrusting cocks, bodies entwined so completely it was impossible to tell where he ended and Sirius began, he simply could not get enough of him. His body was a magnet, and Sirius was 'true north'. He'd wondered for a time if he had become obsessive in his need, this unquenchable thirst, but as Sirius didn't seem to mind – in fact, he'd more than encouraged and reciprocated – he'd brushed it aside as a side-effect of youthful exuberance and decided to enjoy it while it lasted. Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.

"Missed me?" he asked lightly, and sighed in content. Sirius' thumbs were now rubbing slow circles on Remus' neck.

"Mmmm," Sirius replied from where he stood behind the boulder, resting his chin on Remus' head. "Lovely sky. Had a feeling you'd be out here. Reading, were you?"

"A bit. Got somewhat distracted though." He sighed and leaned back against Sirius' chest. They were silent for a while, both watching as the sky gradually darkened. The sun had set below the horizon by now, and twilight was upon them. "How many times have we sat here on this rock over the years?"

Sirius stirred. "Dunno. Hundreds, probably. Why?"

Remus could feel the rumble of Sirius' voice, the vibrations tickling his skin. He closed his eyes and gestured half-heartedly with his hand. "Eh. Never mind. S'nothing."

Sirius glanced over Remus' shoulder at the book in his lap and shook his head in wry amusement. "Frost? American, isn't he? Huh. Thought for sure you'd opt for Burns tonight."

Remus snorted. "I wasn't particularly in the mood to slog my way through any of those turgid odes to a haggis you're so fond of, thanks – and please don't quote that wretched thing either. Besides, Frost is more… soothing. Comforting, I suppose," he added, shrugging his shoulders.

"Oi! Burns is brilliant," Sirius replied, shaking his head in dismay. "Hmph. No appreciation for the great masters." He walked around to the front of the boulder and hoisted himself up, wiggling and nudging Remus over with his hip. He took the book from Remus' lap and paged through it, glancing down at various poems, alternately nodding, grunting and muttering under his breath, until he stopped at one page and cleared his throat.

"Here come real stars to fill the upper skies,
And here on earth come emulating flies,
That though they never equal stars in size,
(And they were never really stars at heart)
Achieve at times a very star-like start.
Only, of course, they can't sustain the part.

"That's a famous poem, is it? Sounds a bit daft to me. Bloke's got nothing on Burns."

Remus had closed his eyes when Sirius had begun to read. He opened them now and turned to look at Sirius, his lip quirked upward in the corner and eyebrow raised in amusement. "I suppose it's not one of his better works, but it's beautiful in its own way. Simple. And comprehensible, which is always an additional benefit. I saw fireflies once, when I was small. We were… on holiday."

Half-remembered images from that long ago summer, not all of them pleasant, blurred like watercolors in his mind's eye, and he shook his head to clear his vision, focusing once again on the present. "They aren't indigenous to England. Or Scotland, or Wales for that matter, you know."

"Of course we have fireflies," Sirius said. "Right here in the forest. It's a wonder they haven't burned half of it down. One of them attacked me once, and I swear I saw it shoot a two-metre long flame from its arse!"

Remus smiled. "Those are magical fireflies, Incendopods. Frost was a Muggle; he was writing about Muggle insects. Which, incidentally, aren't actually flies, but beetles."

"Hmph. Muggles. Should be called Firebeetles then, yeah? So what's the difference?"

"Well, for one thing, they don't shoot fire out of their arses, as you so eloquently stated. More of a yellowish-green flash. They use it to communicate. To call a mate, for one thing."

"Oh?" asked Sirius, waggling his eyebrows and looking interested. He put his arm around Remus and wriggled closer until their thighs and flanks were pressed close together.

"Tosser," Remus said affectionately. "You can't possibly want to listen to a lesson in Muggle insect biology and mating rituals."

"Only if you let me put my head in your lap and run your fingers through my hair while you lecture, Professor," Sirius said, grinning.

Remus snorted and leaned over to bite Sirius on the shoulder. "Not only a tosser, but a selfish, spoilt one. Where's the benefit to me?"

Sirius laughed and playfully pushed his head away. "Ha! Now who's selfish? I was under the impression it was better to give than to receive."

"Perhaps. You still didn't answer my question," Remus said, reaching over to take the book from Sirius' hand where it lay resting in his lap and deliberately brushing his fingers against Sirius' thigh.

Sirius shivered, his fingers clenching where they lay against Remus' hipbone. "Well, you'd be giving me the pleasure of your soothing ministrations, along with the benefits of your vast knowledge. And you'd be receiving the pleasure of having my head in your lap for one thing, and the additional pleasure of knowing that I was enjoying it."

"Mmmm. Is that all I get?"

Sirius rested his head on Remus' shoulder and looked up at him through sooty lashes. "My continued adoration, of course."

Remus smiled, tilted his head and kissed Sirius lightly on the tip of his nose. "So your adoration is contingent upon my acquiescing to your request, is it?"

"Mmmm. I love it when you speak so proper."

"Don't change the subject. And don't you dare try that lost puppy face on me. I'm – stop that! I'm immune to your charms," Remus said, his eyes fixed on Sirius' full lower lip. He licked his own lips and attempted to suppress the urge to sink his teeth into that pouting lip. It looked so good, so ripe, so red and luscious even in the dying light of evening, mere centimetres from his face, there for the taking if he could only shift his head to the right just a tiny bit…

"Immune, are you?" Sirius murmured, lifting his head and tilting it slightly to the side. His voice was thick and his eyelids heavy. "You don't need to flash any lights at me. I always know when you want me, Moony."

A high girlish laugh sounded off to their right, and they both jumped apart, startled. Turning, they recognized four seventh-year Ravenclaw girls. One of them had removed her shoes and was wading into the lake, her robes pulled up to her thighs, beckoning for her friends to join her. They hadn't noticed the two boys nearby, or if they had, they weren't paying them any attention.

Remus slid hastily off the rock, pushing Sirius' arm away, his book falling to the ground in the process. "Bugger it!" he muttered under his breath and bent down to retrieve the book. When he stood up, Sirius was looking at him pointedly, eyebrows raised in question.

"That was close. I don't think they saw us." He put his book under his arm and straightened his robes. He looked past Sirius' shoulder and noticed that there were several older students milling around the grounds. Some couples were walking and holding hands by the greenhouses, and he could just make out others sitting in groups across the far side of lake. He blushed, realizing that they had been clearly visible to anyone who cared to look, and hoped that the other students hadn't looked too closely. Despite some rather crude but surprisingly accurate speculation on the parts of a few Slytherins, they'd managed to keep their relationship secret from everyone for more than a year, with the exceptions of James, Peter, and more recently, Lily. It wouldn't do to ruin everything now, with barely two days remaining. "I suppose we should get back up to the castle. It's getting late."


"James and Peter are probably wondering where we've gone off to."

"James is off somewhere shagging Lily, and Peter was planning to nip out to the pub with Ursula. They won't be looking for us."

"Oh." He shifted his feet awkwardly. "D'you think it's safe for Peter to be out? Out of the castle grounds, I mean."

"Peter'll be fine. He's very resourceful. Come back over here. I believe you were about to show me how immune you are to my charms."

"Sirius," Remus hissed. "There are people about all over the grounds. Someone is going to see us."

"Let them."

Remus stared open-mouthed. "But we've–"

"Moony, the only thing keeping us here at school right now is, well, tradition. We've finished with N.E.W.T.s, we've no more classes, we're both of age, and there's nothing to stop us from going back up to the dormitory, packing our trunks, walking out the front gates into Hogsmeade and Apparating home." He reached out and grabbed hold of Remus' wrist. Pulling him closer, he removed the book from under Remus' arm, placed it down next to him on the rock, and then took both of Remus' hands in his.

"You're moving in with me in less than a week's time. D'you think I give a Jarvey's arse if people see us? We met with Dumbledore not two days ago about this Order that we've joined up with." He took a deep breath and released it slowly. "We're leaving school and we're going to war. War, Moony. I haven't said 'sod it' and dragged you off home with me because… it's safer here. Because once we leave this place, these grounds, the world around us is going to change. You know that all too well, and that's why you were down here tonight. On this rock. Reading poetry about making choices and roads not taken, and being all… all moony."

Remus bit his lip and dropped his gaze to his feet.

"The only reason you're ineligible for Auror training is because of some stupid fucking bogus law – No, look at me, Remus. You didn't really think you could hide it from me, did you? That I wouldn't know?" He slid off the boulder and pulled Remus closer, wrapping both arms around him. "You're brilliant in Dark Arts, Moony," he said into Remus' hair, nuzzling his ear. "You'd be the most perfect, the most brilliant candidate they've ever seen, and they're too fucking stupid to see it."

Remus sighed and relaxed into the embrace, both touched and a little surprised by Sirius' perceptiveness. He hadn't once voiced his fears, his doubts. It just wasn't done, and he certainly hadn't wanted pity. He'd known long before his career advice meeting with McGonagall that continuing with N.E.W.T.s was a lost cause; that his eight Outstanding and two Exceeds Expectations O.W.L.s would amount to nothing substantive, yet he'd diligently continued with his studies. It was a matter of pride, he'd told himself. They'd be impressed; they'd see that he was different, that he was worthy. And surrounded by his friends, buoyed by their competitive encouragement and the respect he'd earned from his peers and professors, he'd almost believed it. He'd wanted to believe it.

"I'm pants at potions," Remus whispered, and Sirius chuckled, kissing his ear.

"You just like to experiment. And blow things up. The mark of true genius. Some of those explosions were legendary. Even Slughorn was impressed. That's curiosity not incompetence, you prat."

"Maybe. But I'm not as brilliant as you. Or James."

"Bollocks. You know more than I do about lots of things. Like Muggle fireflies. And Muggle poetry and literature. And about bollocks, too. That thing you do with your tongue when you–"

"Sirius!" Remus squirmed and tried to pull back, but Sirius just laughed and refused to let him go. "Plank!"

"It's true."

Remus was quiet for a moment. "I wasn't mooning. Not really."

"Not going to refute the tongue thing?"

Remus rolled his eyes and nestled closer, rubbing his cheek against Sirius' shoulder. "Why do I bother with you?"

"I'm sexy? Charming? I've got a perfect arse?"

"Hmph. You are a perfect arse."

"Careful, Moony," Sirius said lightly. "I might mistake such flattering accolades for heartfelt declarations of love."

Remus froze, his heartbeat quickening. He cleared his throat and shifted uncomfortably, miserable and angry with himself for his unguarded reaction. Reticent as he was to speak of his insecurities, feelings and matters of the heart were subjects avoided at all costs. It was both understood and unspoken that the four of them loved each other, that they were brothers. Words weren't necessary. It just was. But that was a different matter entirely. This… thing between he and Sirius… He shivered and pressed his face against Sirius' shoulder.

Sirius' arms tightened around him, and they stood there for a long moment, not speaking, barely breathing. The silence lay heavy between them while the sky grew darker still, and the first stars appeared, sparkling pinpricks of white flame against the indigo depths.

"Yeah," Sirius murmured, stirring. He lifted his hand to brush Remus' hair aside and pressed a soft kiss to the junction of neck and jaw, the tension vanishing like wisps of smoke. "Yeah."

Remus stepped back and met Sirius' gaze, a lopsided smile on his face. He opened his mouth to speak, but no words were forthcoming and he closed it, exhaling a long breath through his nose and shrugging his shoulders. Sirius grinned back, and this time, the silence was anything but awkward. He found himself once again staring at Sirius' mouth, transfixed, watching as Sirius bit his lower lip, sucking it in slowly then releasing it, tongue replacing teeth, gliding, soothing, tentatively at first, then sinuously caressing, teasing, slick and glistening and–

"Kiss me," Sirius whispered, and Remus was only too happy to comply.


Author's Notes:

1. 'Gather ye rosebuds while ye may' is from the poem "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time" by Robert Herrick.

2. The poem read by Sirius is "Fireflies in the Garden" by Robert Frost. And Robert Burns really did write poems about haggis, namely "Address to a Haggis", which you can read here if you're so inclined. It's…interesting. *cough*

3. FYI, they really don't have fireflies in Great Britain – they have glowworms, which are a relative of fireflies, but not quite the same, as they don't have wings and therefore are unable to fly. Of course I made up magical fireflies and whether Sirius' accounts are true or exaggerated, well… *g*

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